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grade was raised; in 233 cases the grade was lowered, and in 494 cases the dockage was changed. Appeals from the decisions in these reinspections were made to the railroad and warehouse commission in but seventeen cases, in ten of which the decisions of the chief deputy inspector were changed and in seven cases sustained. The number of errors made in the inspection work of the past year, as indicated by the changes above stated, was 6,304, or at the rate of one error in forty-one cars inspected. Considering the character of a considerable portion of the crop and the difficulties encountered in consequence, the above showing may justly be regarded as favorable.
THE DEPARTMENT FORCE. The average number of employes engaged in all branches of the department during the season was 148, classified as follows: One chief inspector, four chief deputy inspectors, two first assistant deputies, sixteen deputies, six sub-deputies, two flax inspectors, five assistant flax inspectors, and twenty helpers in the inspection department. ' In the weighing department, four state weighmasters, sixty-eight deputy weighmen and two scale experts. In the registration department, one warehouse registrar and two assistant registrars. The clerical force in all departments consists of eleven clerks and three stenographers. There is, also, one supervisor of country elevators. The number of persons employed during the year ranged from 130 to 158, the force being largest during the heavy movement of grain in the fall months and curtailed when the rush of business was over.
One feature of our work which has attracted attention and given great satisfaction to grain shippers, receivers and the railroad companies is rapid service. However large the receipts may be, the inspection is promptly performed each morning and all reported at the general offices before 11 o'clock a. m. This permits sale and disposition on day of arrival, early remittances to country shippers, rapid return of empty cars to country points, and prevents expensive demurrage charges.
We feel warranted in asserting that, in this respect, the record of the department is not surpassed, if equaled, by any similar department in the country. Our relations with the producers and with all branches of the trade have been unusually pleasant and satisfactory during the past season; criticism and complaint has almost entirely disappeared.
The sealing system is in successful operation at St. Paul, Minneapolis and Duluth. That this measure of safety and protection for grain lying in railroad yards at terminal points awaiting dis. position is practical and in a large measure efficacious, admits of no question. Complaints of pilfering by track thieves have been reduced to a gratifying extent. A careful examination and report of the condition of each car is made prior to the inspection of its contents, which frequently proves valuable in determining the cause of reported shortage. The reports from the three inspection districts show that but a slight percentage of cars arrive in bad condition, as compared with the whole number received. At Minneapolis out of a total of 134,868 cars which were inspected, 414 doors were found without seals, 242 cars in leaky condition, 471 open end doors, and 11 open side doors. At Duluth out of a total of 113,638 cars, there were 165 doors without seals, four cars in leaking condition, nine open end doors, and seventeen open side doors. At St. Paul, out of 1,269 cars there were sixty-four doors without seals, one leak, one open end door, and seventy-four open side doors.
THE COUNTRY WAREHOUSE LAW. Chapter 28, Laws of 1893, commonly known as the "country warehouse law,” at the time of its enactment was regarded by many as merely experimental legislation and of somewhat doubtful util. ity. Three years of operation and experience under its provisions has satisfied its opponents generally that it was wise, beneficial and needed legislation. This branch of the work is under the charge of Mr. R. C. Burdick, who was the first chief inspector of grain in this state and whose many years of experience in the operation of country elevators as well as at terminal points renders his serv. ices in this connection of the greatest value. His duties are to see that all country elevators on the right of way of railroads at interior points which come within the purview of the law are duly licensed and operated in accordance with its requirements and provisions. In the discharge of such duties he spends a portion of his time visiting country elevators, observing their methods, comparing grades and dockages with those at terminal points and investigat. ing causes of specific complaint which may have been formally lodged with the railroad and warehouse commission. The result is seen in a closer conformity by country buyers to the standards in force at terminal points, and generally improved methods. The relations between the farmer and country buyer are characterized by an absence of much of the antagonism and suspicion which formerly existed. Whenever any doubt exists as to the proper grade of any lot of grain at country points either or both parties interested are at liberty to submit a sample of the grain to the chief inspector at St. Paul, who determines what such grain would grade at terminal points, and who thus acts as an arbiter or adviser in the settlement of disputes at country stations. During the past season many controversies have been adjusted by this method. The total number of country elevators and warehouses in this state at present operating under the law is 1,133. In connection with this branch of the service, and in accordance with the requirements of chapter 30, Laws of 1893, there are constantly kept on file for public inspection market journals showing prices of grain and farm products in Liverpool, London, New York, Buffalo, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Duluth. Weekly bulletins are issued and published in leading Northwestern papers showing the prices paid in the different markets, also the rates of freight by lake, rail, or ocean, and all other charges which would attach to shipments from the Northwestern markets to the seaboard and abroad.
A REVIEW OF DEPARTMENT WORK.
In the foregoing general review of the past year's work, it will be seen that this branch of state administration is charged with important duties and increasing responsibilities. Its business has assumed large proportions. It necessitates careful, methodical management in the selction of employes and in the discharge of its various duties. Its support being derived from fees contributed solely by those who are benefited by the services performed, it is in no sense a tax upon the general public, but self-sustaining. As an illustration of its development, in 1885, the year of its inception, there were but fifty-four persons employed, while at the present time there are 145. The annual receipts of grain have increased during the same period from 97,65: carloads to 250,805 carloads; its annual earnings from $63,471.29 to $241,942.87; its expenditures from $62,184.90 to $174,808.24. During the same period the average cost to the owner of grain for the combined service of inspection and weighing has decreased from one and one-third mills per bushel to two-thirds of a mill per bushel.
At the commencement of the work in 1885, selections for the various positions in the department were made from the best men available. Many of the inspectors being equipped only with local experience, found themselves frequently in a quandary when confronted with grain of different varieties from sections with which they were not familiar. Frequent errors and considerable dissatisfaction resulted. It became apparent that, if the new system was to be of any practical utility, it must be conducted upon some other basis than chance appointments. The remedy was clear, and was found in a system of classification of employes, a careful course of training and education, to be followed by promotion as an incentive to faithful, conscientious work. In the year 1889, on assuming charge of the department, I ventured to lay these views before the railroad and warehouse commission and found a ready acquiescence and approval in the plan proposed. Since that time the work has been conducted upon this basis, and whatever degree of improvement and success it may have attained is due, in my judgment, almost wholly to the methods pursued. The department is now practically on a civil service basis. Its usefulness to the public was never before so heartily acknowledged and recognized. The several governors who have administered the affairs of the state during this period of its evolution have, without exception, conceded the necessity for such a system and have not attempted to urge new appointments which could have been given only by displacing trained public servants, whose services were indispensable to the successful operation of the department. Your honorable board will bear me out in the assertion that no executive has treated the department with more consideration in this respect than His Excellency Governor Clough. Taking into consideration that such a system is universally conceded to be a necessity in order to insure an efficient performance of this important work, I feel that I cannot too strongly urge the necessity for the continuance of such a policy.
The Minnesota system is recognized as the best equipped in the United States, and it has served as a model for newly established systems in other states. The inspection, weighing and registration departments are integral parts of a complete whole, and serve not only as a check upon each other, but upon the transactions of the public warehousemen. In view of this fact, receipts issued from the terminal public warehouses of Minnesota are regarded as the very best and safest form of collateral by local and Eastern banks and moneyed institutions, and advances are made upon this security below normal rates of interest.
In New York the utmost confidence is placed in Minnesota grades, and all grain purchased by New York buyers is accepted at the Duluth docks without question when accompanied by our certificates of inspection. No other system in this country enjoys similar prestige and distinction.
HOW GRAIN IS INSPECTED AND WEIGHED. Notwithstanding the system of state inspection and weighing has been in operation for over eleven years, there are still many who are not conversant with the methods of the department, as shown by frequent letters of inquiry concerning subjects which should be familiar to every person connected with the business of producing or handling grain in the Northwest. Under the circumstances a brief review of the operation of the system may prove acceptable.
The inspection department is under the supervision of a chief inspector, who is appointed by the railroad and warehouse commission, and is divided into four districts,-St. Paul, Minneapolis, St. Cloud and Duluth each comprising a district. In each of these districts a chief deputy inspector has direct control of the work, and has in charge as many deputies and helpers as the work re quires. Each district, also, has a weighing department in charge of a state weighmaster, with such number of deputy weighmen as he may require.
All appointments are made by or with the approval of the commission. All employes are carefully selected, with due regard to age, character, intelligence and general fitness for the position to which they may be assigned. .
Employes are divided into classes in accordance with their length of service, skill and experience. New appointees are placed in subordinate positions and promoted as opportunities offer and their progress in knowledge and usefulness justifies.
The compensation of employes varies in accordance with the importance and responsibility attached to the work in which they are engaged. Removals rarely occur and are made for cause, such as inattention to duty, incompetency, or similar reasons.
The different grades of grain are established in accordance with the provisions of law, on or before the fifteenth day of September in each year, by the railroad and warehouse commission, after due notice to producers, shippers, consumers and others interested, from whom suggestions are invited and carefully considered. Copies of established grades are obtainable upon application.